Immunization Information for Healthcare Professionals

immunizations

The goal of the Immunization Program is to offer protection against vaccine-preventable diseases in order to attain a high level immunity that will eliminate or prevent outbreaks of vaccine preventable disease

Community Vaccine Provider Responsibilities

The BCCDC Communicable Disease Control Manual Chapter 2: Immunization Program indicates that Community vaccine providers will:

  • follow the BCCDC guidelines for immunization
  • follow Needle Selection Reference Guide to ensure the correct needle size is used for administering vaccines/biological products
  • ensure that vaccine maintains potency (optimal transportation, storage, handling and conservation), and report in a timely manner to the local health unit any cold chain incidents
  • report in a timely manner to the local health unit regarding persons immunized
  • report adverse events following any immunization to the local health unit
  • additional key information for Pharmacist Access to Publicly Funded Vaccines

Follow Immunization Program Manual Guidelines

The BCCDC Communicable Disease Control Manual, Chapter 2: Immunization Program provides best practice guidelines to direct the provision of immunization services.  

It includes up to date information on responsibilities of community vaccine providers, vaccine schedules, precautions and contraindications, special populations, management of biologicals, adverse events and specific vaccine products. 

It is the responsibility of Immunization Program Manual users to ensure they are using the most current versions of the program.

To check for updates and/or be notified of updated changes to the Immunization Program Manual, register by entering your email address in the space on the BCCDC Administrative Circular.


Ensure Management of Biologicals

Complete information on vaccine management can be found in the Immunization Program Manual, Appendix E

Additional information about the online Vaccine Storage and Handling Course for health care providers and Vaccine Storage and Handling, Quick Reference Guide for those that handle vaccines can be found in the Vaccine Storage and Handling Flyer.

Maintaining Vaccine Stability

Vaccines are sensitive biological products.  Protection of vaccine potency and stability is important.

The recommended temperature for vaccine storage and handling is between +2.0°C to +8.0°C at all times. 

Check and record the minimum, maximum and current temperature of the vaccine fridge at the start and end of each business day. Record temperatures on the Temperature Form, available electronically: access Cold Chain information for community providers here.

"Cold chain" refers to the process used to maintain optimal temperature conditions during the transport, storage and handling of vaccines.

A cold chain failure is a minimum, maximum or current fridge temperature reading outside of the +2.0°C to +8.0°C range.

In the Event of a Cold Chain Failure:

  • immediately quarantine vaccine in a fridge maintained between +2.0°C to +8.0°C
  • notify the local Health Unit office
  • complete a "Cold Chain Incident Form" and send to the local Health Unit office. 

The form in Excel or PDF format can be accessed from the BCCDC website. The Excel form is preferred. Complete by:

  • saving to your own computer
  • entering incident details
  • save and submit as attachment to an e-mail or fax to the local Health Unit
  • await recommendations on future use of vaccines

Recording Immunization and Report Forms

Besides recording immunizations that are given on the client’s record or chart, clients should be provided with a record of their immunization.

Report Immunizations administered to children up to and including 18 years of age to the local Health Unit in a timely manner so that data can be entered into the electronic public health record. A copy of the reporting form will be provided with the vaccine. 

Vaccine Reporting Forms:

South Island Form: Greater Victoria, Sooke, Saanich, Gulf Islands.

Central Island Form: Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Qualicum, Port Alberni, west of Port Alberni.

North Island Form: Courtenay, Campbell River, Gold River, north of Campbell River.

Additionally, BC Pharmacists have developed two documents to facilitate the processes to which pharmacists must adhere in providing vaccines and notifying the appropriate care provider and/or Health Authority. Both can be accessed via these direct links:  Consent for Immunization and Immunization Notification Following Administration.


Order Forms and Pickup of Vaccine

Order vaccine by faxing completed order forms to the local Health Unit. Contact the local Health Unit with any questions about vaccine ordering.

  • allow at least 3 working days (Monday to Friday) to fill your order
  • vaccine will be distributed based on available products and supply
  • we will not backfill orders, reordering is necessary
  • the health unit may contact you if there are questions about the vaccine you ordered
  • cold chain must be maintained to ensure potency of the vaccine.  Bring a hard-sided cooler with ice packs when picking up vaccine

Vaccine Order Forms:

South Island (Greater Victoria, Sooke, Saanich, Gulf Islands)

Esquimalt
Peninsula
Saanich
Salt Spring
Sooke
Victoria
Westshore 

Central Island (Cowichan Valley, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Qualicum, Port Alberni, west of Port Alberni)

Cowichan Valley
Nanaimo
Parksville
Port Alberni
Tofino

North Island (Courtenay, Campbell River, Gold River, north of Campbell River)

Comox Valley
Campbell River
Port Hardy


Vaccine Safety and Reporting Adverse Events

Report adverse events following immunization to the local Health Unit office. Visit the BCCDC for information on Adverse Events Following Immunization including:

See the Vaccine Safety page on the BCCDC website here.


Resources

Resources for providers and information on vaccine development, approval, monitoring and vaccine safety research:

Reporting Adverse Events Following Immunization:  For BC Community Vaccine Providers 
How Vaccines are Tested and Approved Infographic
How Vaccines are Monitored Infographic

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